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How to change your Zoom background

How to change your Zoom background
(Image credit: Zoom)

Knowing how to change your Zoom background is an essential skill now with so many people using the video conferencing service to work from home or stay in touch with family and friends. Changing your Zoom background gives regular video conference meetings some visual flair and makes them more interesting and fun.

The ability to change Zoom backgrounds is one of the service's best features (and being copied by other video chat apps) while you use it to work from home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Or maybe you just want to hide the fact that your home office or bedroom is a bit cluttered right now. It's easy when you change your Zoom background so that you appear like you're on sitting on the Iron Throne, chilling in Animal Crossing or flying in a galaxy far, far away.

In the last few months, everyone has been using Zoom while staying at home to attend work meetings, participate in online classes and keep up with friends and family. But even if you know how to use Zoom, you may not be sure how to change your Zoom background. Many people have discovered and enjoyed using the setting that allows you to add a virtual background, which swaps out the real-life background with a video or image. No green screen is required. 

The virtual background feature is a fun way to mix up your Zoom calls (and one of the keys ways Zoom stands out in our Zoom vs Google Hangouts face-off). So, your call participants can see you in a tropical beach setting, in front of the Golden Gate Bridge or even in outer space. Zoom offers a few default virtual backgrounds, or you can upload your own image to change your Zoom background to something more personal. We rounded up some of the best free Zoom backgrounds you use. 

Here's what you need to know about customizing your background. 

How to change your Zoom background on the desktop app

Before joining a meeting:

  1. Download the Zoom app for Mac or Windows
  2. Open the app and sign in. 
  3. Click your profile picture, then click on Settings.
  4. In the left menu bar, click on the Virtual Background tab (if you don't see this tab, log in to the Zoom website, go to Settings and toggle on Virtual Background).
  5. In the Virtual Background tab, select one of Zoom's defaults or upload your own image.
  6. If you have a green screen set-up, you can select that option.
  7. To add your own image or video, click the + icon to upload from your computer.

How to change Zoom background

(Image credit: Zoom.us)

After joining a meeting:

  1. At the bottom of the client, click the up arrow next to Stop Video.
  2. Select Change Virtual Background.
  3. In the Virtual Background tab, select one of Zoom's defaults or upload your own image.
  4. If you have a green screen set-up, you can select that option.
  5. To add your own image or video, click the + icon to upload from your computer.

How to change your Zoom background on the mobile app

  1. Download the Zoom app for iOS to your iPhone or iPad
  2. Open the app, sign in and join a meeting.
  3. Tap the three dots at the bottom right to open the More menu.
  4. Tap Virtual Background.
  5. Select one of Zoom's defaults or upload your own. 

How to change your Zoom background: Where to find free backgrounds

Check out our list of the best free Zoom backgrounds you can download. They come from brands including Nintendo, Disney, Netflix and Marvel as well as sites like Unsplash (a library of free stock photography), Canva (an online design tool) and Modsy (an e-interior design service). 

Now when you join a meeting, you can appear to be visiting Wakanda or talking from a Love Is Blind pod or lounging on The Simpsons couch.

  • k9gardner
    This would be great. But under the “three dots” on the iPad app, there is no virtual background available. I’ve just wasted an hour in this.
    Reply
  • Druidia
    Click bait, for sure. On Google search, this shows up as "How to change your Zoom background on the mobile app ". When I clicked on the link, the real title was "How to change your Zoom background" and, of course, shows an Apple notebook screen. No iPad or iPhone images. There are instructions but they're very very incorrect.

    Why do people do this? Kelly Woo (writer), that was a sleazy move.

    iPhone Zoom app doesn't have any background changing feature. The 3 dots only pop up "Chat, meeting settings, minimized meeting, disconnect audio". Under "meeting settings", there's just:
    Security - lock meeting, waiting room
    Allow participants to - share screen, chat with, rename themselves, unmute themselves
    Host controls - meeting topic, mute upon entry, play join and leave sound
    General - always show meeting controls, touch up my appearance on/off switch, closed captioning, show name when participants join, show my connected time
    Reply